Three-quarters of solicitors registering in Ireland in the last year were from the UK, it has emerged, as the legal profession rushes to prepare for Brexit. According to annual records published this week, more than 1,100 England and Wales solicitors have registered to practise in Ireland since last year’s vote to leave the European Union.
English and Welsh solicitors far outnumber the approximate 350 Irish-national solicitors who registered to practise in Ireland during the year. In total, 1,448 solicitors were admitted to the Irish roll of solicitors over the past 12 months.
Ken Murphy, director general of the Law Society in Ireland, said there had been a ‘tsunami’ of solicitors adding their name to the roll in the country, with around 220 additionally taking out practising certificates.
In an article for the Gazette, he says there is no evidence any solicitors had physically relocated to Ireland since the referendum vote. Rather, they are seeking to assure their practising rights in EU and competition law.
'All the evidence that the society has is that England and Wales solicitors, almost without exception, are staying exactly where they are,’ he said. 'And where they are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, is either London or Brussels. They have come through the administrative process of entering their names on the roll of solicitors in Ireland, even in some cases having taken out practising certificates, for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with any intention to establish in this jurisdiction.'
He said the country would welcome any firm moving to Dublin. International firm Pinsent Masons confirmed last month it would open a new office in Ireland but will recruit locally rather than relocate solicitors.
'They had done research of the Irish legal market including consulting extensively with their existing Irish and international clients,' added Murphy.